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Clyfford Still

1951-52, 1951/52

Oil on canvas

<p>In the late 1940s, Clyfford Still, along with Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, originated the type of Abstract Expressionism known as Field Painting, a term used to describe large canvases dominated by one uniform color or a few colors closely related in hue and value. In contrast to Newman and Rothko, who usually applied paint thinly and uniformly, Still used a palette knife, creating textural effects that give the surface a complex, nearly sculptural sense of materiality. Named after the years of its creation, <em>1951–52</em> is a rare, nearly all-black work in the artist’s oeuvre. A vertical white line to the right of center and a thin streak of red-orange along the left side provide the sole interruptions in the black field. The subtle modulations of texture and finish support the artist’s claim that &quot;I do not oversimplify—in fact, I revel in the extra complex.&quot;</p>